White Privilege Black Burden

“I thought I had no right to speak, but I do have a right to speak because I am human and my heart is whole.” Preach it!

QBG_Tilted Tiara

OpEdFor days now, I have been without words, speechless. It isn’t that I have been without thought, it is simply I have not had the heart to write the words. More and more I find myself truly at odds with my own innate desire to believe in the goodness of man and moving toward a more cynical outlook. We are a nation built on the backs, the blood, sweat and tears of others. We are a nation defined by genocide and built by slaves, yet we refuse to acknowledge our history or the unwilling sacrifices of those who died so we could have all we have.

I have been without words. In truth, I thought I had no right to speak.

Nate Silver predicts the Republicans will take the Senate in 2014. Not by much and it isn’t a sure thing, but if they do the obstruction this President has…

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Posted on 08/30/2014, in Bloggers for Peace, Cops Gone Wild, Michael Brown - Ferguson and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.

  1. Like

    • Xena,amazing quantity of people, someone from sundancecrappy
      was expecting attendance at Ferguson today around 100 people.

      Poor butty-hurt !


      • HA! He’s still caught in a majority v. minority frame of mind, without considering that in Ferguson, Blacks are the majority.


    • yahtzeebutterfly

      I watched the National Protest in Ferguson live all day and truly admire all the people who gathered and marched to protest and demonstrate.


  2. yahtzeebutterfly

    Somehow, we need legislation that takes the investigation of police officers out of the hands of the police department.


  3. yahtzeebutterfly

    Valentine Logar, your article is outstanding and right on point!


  4. So many people in attendance! Many more than ‘Operation American Spring” This says to me that there is no forgetting, that time will not lessen our want for justice that is fair and equal for all people.


  5. chuquestaquenumber1

    However,Bill OReilly and others will tell you there’s no such thing as white privilege. Yet there is however BGI. Now if there isn’t white privilege,explain this:


    I could go on. This is enough for now.


    • I was thinking about a post asking “What is White Privilege?” IMO, some White people do not understand it. Because I’m tired and not feeling the best, maybe we could begin that discussion here in comments. Would you like to begin?


      • good idea. i’ll start off by saying white privilege is never bothering to think about it.

        but I am too tired and just saw another horrific incident in Chicago and tried to get it here but link is on my phone so I’ll try to tweet it to you. again the killer cop’s callousness is just unbearable emotionally. and so is the police dept’s non-actions against these cops. how can they live w.themselves to just take someone’s life away??!!


        • i’ll start off by saying white privilege is never bothering to think about it.

          So many things that are common everyday things that Whites do not think about.

          A Black person has to think twice before paying a White lawyer a retainer to represent them. There are numerous cases involving lawsuits for civil rights violations in employment that go on the court’s slaughter call for want of prosecution.

          A Black person has to think twice when looking at a house to purchase. Will they have peace in the neighborhood or will their White neighbors fault-find and vandalize their property?

          A Black person cannot look in the phone book and call any landscaping, exterminating, HVAC, home improvement, carpet, etc. company not knowing if they do not provide service in that part of town or if they do, will they receive quality service. (There are numerous stories I could share about companies that took money but ruined the property of Blacks.)

          A Black person can anticipate paying more for car insurance when the community is predominately minority.

          A White person does not have to anticipate going to a doctor or dentist wondering if the provider is racially prejudiced.

          And, as I shared with a dear friend, Black families did not go camping in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, and some do not camp now. When a Black teen cannot walk home from the store at night without getting killed for looking “suspicious,” how much more dangerous is it for a Black family to be in the woods at night?

          These are everyday, common things that Whites do not have to think about, notwithstanding racial profiling by law enforcement, sale clerks, cab drivers, and equal employment opportunities.


          • yahtzeebutterfly

            Xena, I am always appreciative when you help me to understand White privilege.

            So many times you give examples of the Black experience that I have not been aware of or thought about.

            Thank you.


      • yahtzeebutterfly

        “i’ll start off by saying white privilege is never bothering to think about it.”

        To add to that, I can choose, if I wish, to avoid the discussion offered here on white privilege.

        I also, if I wish, do not need to think about the worry and stress that my fellow Black community members here feel about their children and family members potentially at any miscellaneous moment being negatively stereotyped or criminally profiled by LE.

        With my White privilege, if I wish, I do not need to reach out to our blog’s Black community members with caring and recognition of all that you must be experiencing in your hearts over the killing of Michael Brown.

        My heart is so sickened by execution-style killing of Michael by Darren Wilson, at the same time as knowing that as a white mother I have never felt the stress and nights of worry fearing for the safety of my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews from the police who negatively profile, stereotype, and gun down innocent Blacks.

        To my fellow Black community members here, I am praying for you and your children. I am so sorry for all that you have faced because the playing field is not level in our country, that you do not have the same benefits and advantages that I had bestowed (unearned) on me at birth because I am White. I can only begin to imagine all the feelings you are experiencing over the deaths of Michael Brown, Trayvon, Renisha, Jordan, Oscar and all of the others.


      • yahtzeebutterfly

        I think some Whites might not understand or want to acknowledge their White privilege because they think to themselves, “What benefits? What privilege? I had it really bad growing up. I am facing extreme rough times now.”

        I would point out to these White individuals that their rough times and their negative experiences growing up were NOT caused by the color of their skin but by other factors.


        • Yahtzee. that’s a good one. I’ve heard that argument. that because they were poor or abused children or whatever. but someone explained the difference & those types of things aren’t what we’re trying to understand and deal with now. we’re talking about the inherited differences in the way white ppl benefit from the way society reacts towards them. that in the world we live in, white ppl often have a softer landing given the same exact circumstances than a black person. and it has nothing to do with anything besides the color they were born in.


  6. OMG I just read this from comments under the video, and I’ve even heard of this sorta psychological reasoning behind this idea before,
    this response is to someone who’s suggesting that being subservient to police is probably the best way to handle them. but this is also told to explain why kids are told to kick scream etc when in trouble, even adults..and immediately Trayvon comes to mind. he must of been so confused bc in this guy’s particular case he’s a grown man & he knew he was dealing w.a cop. Trayvon had no idea what he was dealing with. and the pos prosecutors never defended him with heart or logic!


    Diffusing a Situation When dealing with a potentially violent agitator or aggressor, the mindset is to not provoke them, or do things to agitate them, to the end of getting away from the situation so one’s person isn’t placed in avoidable danger. This is how people are supposed to handle potentially dangerous aggressors that haven’t yet acted violently or committed a crime. Is that really how your average person should handle their interactions with the police?

    Also, your statement, “…I stated that in some cases there may be nothing a person can do to thwart the ill will of bad cops,” implies that it is possible to avoid people who approach you with malicious intent. This is, for the most part, a myth. You have two options when people with malicious intent approach you with the goal of doing you harm; run, or fight. Whatever you do, do not comply. Contrary to popular belief, that is how people get killed. Do not go into the alleyway, do not go into the house, do not get into the car, even if they tell you to do all of that at gunpoint. Especially if they tell you to do all that at gunpoint. Run, kick, bite, punch, lever whatever force you can to get away.

    Though, in the case of the police, you’ll probably just wind up arrested, beaten, groped, and slandered to justify the mistreatment. You know, that’s not much better than what your average violent criminal will do to you. So just don’t comply in the event of a police officer trying to violate your rights. It’s not much different than complying with a criminal that is attempting to violate your rights. You don’t want to put your life in the hands of someone who gives not a single fuck if you live or die, and would just as soon kill you as talk with you. So the above advice applies even to police officers. Check.


    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Right on, Shannon!

      Great post.

      There are too many thugs and violent abusers and agitators in the police ranks.


      • yahtzeebutterfly

        I have so many questions.

        How well do police departments screen applicants for violent or sadistic tendencies?

        I wonder about how killing arcade games have programed (“brainwashed”) youth who already had violent natures. How many young police officers were programed by such games in their youth to kill quickly without asking questions or assessing people they deem suspicious?

        How many applicants for police jobs are obsessed with guns?

        How many police officers are pumped up with steroids?


  7. yahtzeebutterfly

    It is important to realize that we White individuals should not feel guilty because we have White privilege….we did not ask for it…..it was an automatic bestowal upon us at birth because we live in a White power/institutional society.

    We can, however, do everything we can to attempt to change this society in an effort to bring about a level playing field where people of ANY skin color have equal access to education, jobs, housing, educational loans, housing loans, justice, and voting.

    Being discriminated against by being denied access to educational loans and often denied entrance to higher institutions unless a Black person can help that institution rake in money by being one of their football athletes is a complaint put forward in the following “Black Bruins” video. Also pointed out is the fact that there are so few Black UCLA Bruins accepted today leaves the Black students often as the only Black student in any given classroom:

    “The Black Bruins [Spoken Word] – Sy Stokes”

    Going back to how I can use my White privilege:

    Rather than spending time feeling bad or embarrassed because I have White privilege, I should use it to speak-up when I see a Black individual being discriminated against and stand-up for her/him. The lady in this video speaks to this:

    “Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy, A Trip to the Grocery Store”


  8. yahtzeebutterfly

    I hope in our discussion here that readers will share their personal experiences to add to my understanding of the advantages and benefits I have because I am White.

    Over the last two years I have gained a better understanding of my privilege because Black commenters have taken the time to share their experiences.

    Here is a just a sampling of comments I have saved:

    For many Black people in this country, race is always involved. We didn’t ask for it to be considered. It just is, because, we just are.

    My first meeting at an Ivy League school, a woman walked in and bent down to talk to me like I was a child to ask me if my boss was coming to run the meeting. It was so patronizing. I know she didn’t say, “Hey little Black girl,” but it is certainly what she meant. I have experienced enough subtle racism to sniff it out when I smell it. (Stinks, too.)

    My response was, “No, and have a seat. I will begin the meeting in about 5 minutes.”

    Her face, well, it hit the floor hard, and she found a seat on the opposite side of the table.”

    John T.:
    In college, I can remember being told by a white mathematics professor that Black people didn’t know anything about math or science, and that I was wasting my time. He told me I should pursue something different, and he specifically mentioned that I should try social work, because he felt that this was a better discipline for me to pursue.

    I am 65 years old. Most people consider me a petite woman, being less than 5-foot-3, and yet, when I shopped in Southern California, it was a common experience for ‘white’ women to grab their purses as I passed them in the aisle.

    Some years ago, I was an auditor for a major defense contractor. The white secretary said that they may as well have hired her for the position.

    Her high school education AGAINST my BBA, MBA, passed CPA exam, and 10 years of experience in accounting!

    I can’t tell you how many times someone has tried to hand me their car keys in a downtown D.C. parking garage – – while I’m wearing a suit.

    One lady, incredulous that I didn’t know where Dollar Car Rental was at the airport, screamed “DON’T YOU WORK HERE!?” at me as we cleaned out the car we were returning.


    • Yahtzeebutterfly,

      I hope in our discussion here that readers will share their personal experiences to add to my understanding of the advantages and benefits I have because I am White.

      I am happy that you seek understanding but please do not hesitate to share your own experiences. Have you experienced speaking personally with Whites about racism, such as family members, friends? Have you ever experienced seeing a minority racially profiled? When you go about running errands, to the doctor, the store, etc., do you see minority employees?


      • yahtzeebutterfly

        That’s just it, Xena, I haven’t seen a minority racially profiled. Hence, I am dependent upon people sharing their experiences (and upon news reports) so that I can understand how prevalent it is.

        I have an extensive library of the African American experience (history, literature…including every poet from the Black Arts Movement, autobiographies,etc), and so I have been aware of all of the injustices, brutality, discrimination, inequality, sundown laws, etc. that Blacks have experienced, and still do…..that I and my family have never experienced. But, it has only been in the last two years that I have been introduced to “White Privilege” as a way to view past and present events personally. But, without calling it the term “White Privilege” I obviously have known all my life that I have had benefits and advantages that minorities have not had.

        Yes, I have shared what I have learned about White privilege and the racism that is growing in the U.S. (or becoming more overt) with family (including grandchildren), friends and acquaintances every chance I have gotten. (I also was part of a panel discussion on White privilege with a group this year and also once discussed negative stereotyping and profiling at a meeting.)

        When you go about running errands, to the doctor, the store, etc., do you see minority employees?

        Yes, I do see minority employees when running errands. My appendix was removed by a minority doctor and I had a minority specialist in California. Their staff was White, however.

        I tried to share in my posts on this page what I have learned about my White privilege just in case the concept is new to some readers here. ( I am sorry if I have posted too many things.)

        I know it is Labor Day Weekend…I don’t know if anyone has had time to read here because only Shannon and I have responded to your invitation to begin a discussion on White privilege.


        • Yahtzeebutterfly,

          ( I am sorry if I have posted too many things.)

          You haven’t. You can’t. 🙂

          I’ll be back later (have a cake in the oven) and will give your comment the reply it deserves. People are reading — 193 views on this page since it was posted yesterday.


          • yahtzeebutterfly

            ( I am sorry if I have posted too many things.) –yahtzee

            You haven’t. You can’t. –(Xena)

            I don’t know. Perhaps it is not for me to post here…..but for someone else to bring out. I don’t want to give the impression that I know everything or even have the right to ask people to share their experiences…..maybe someone should yell at me and tell me that I am wrong to do that…..maybe, with my white privilege I am being patronizing. I am so sorry.

            I try to (and am scared to find out) just how much racism might be lurking undiscovered in me that was ingrained by the white system/power structure. I don’t want to be a racist.

            One thing I know is that the system never required schools to teach me about the Black experience…..history courses did not and my literature courses did not whether in high school or in college.

            I gradually over the years have tried to read books to make up for what I was not taught in school.


          • Yahtzeebutterfly,
            This is a sensitive issue and I’m sorry that you’re feeling as if you should not comment on it. I apologize if your feelings are based on anything that I said because it was not my intent to cause you any sensitivity or hard feelings.

            You are motivated, and out of that motivation, you asked for others to share their experiences. No one has. But, you should not take that personally. It could be that to share that information might allude to where they work or worked, where they live, or some other info that they prefer to keep private.

            I try to (and am scared to find out) just how much racism might be lurking undiscovered in me that was ingrained by the white system/power structure. I don’t want to be a racist.

            You probably already know that I see a difference in “racist” and “prejudice.”


          • yahtzeebutterfly

            Actually, it was nothing you wrote here, Xena. It was more just my taking some moments to reflect after you asked me to share my experiences. It was then that I understood how what I had written might have sounded to some readers and also to question myself.

            “It could be that to share that information might allude to where they work or worked, where they live, or some other info that they prefer to keep private.”

            As far as privacy, I understand completely. I feel the same way, and it has limited what I have been able to post about my personal experiences and outreach this year.

            I can say that, when I lived in California (born and grew up there), my classes that I taught were multicultural with two being 75% Black students and 25% Latino students. Faculties at my two schools sometimes were half Black and half White and sometimes Black, Asian, Latino and White. At the time I was teaching, people seemed to appreciate everyone for who they were as far as their roots and ethnicity, etc., and I personally never witnessed overt racism while in California.

            However, a person whom I met last year at a Trayvon Martin rally, with whom I have become good friends, also lived in California (decades) and has told me of her experience of being profiled as a Black individual and how she was often pulled over when she was driving back and forth to a college where she was a professor. See, even, though I had taught with Black teachers, we just never seemed to have in-depth conversations “telling it like it really was.”

            Perhaps, it is because of both of us being at the Trayvon Martin rally and having a common understanding of how the issue of racism became a topic, that my new good friend and I have shared so much in phone conversations and also the times when she and her daughter have visited my house. She taught college courses on Black History and has enjoyed going through my library and memorabilia/photos from the Civil Rights Era.

            Again, because of the privacy issue here, I cannot say what our community plans are for this coming year.


  9. yahtzeebutterfly
    • I disagree with the first one;

      Because of white privilege, you’ll never have to worry about becoming the victim of law enforcement officers.

      White and Brown people who are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, mentally ill, and disabled are victims of law enforcement. We don’t hear much about it because of number 2;

      Thankfully, you’ll never have to know what it feels like to see your teenage son’s death being mocked.

      People don’t want themselves, families, and children defamed, mocked, and unfairly judged. They do not want to defend themselves against lies and defend their dead loved ones.


  10. yahtzeebutterfly

    In his film documentary “White Like Me” Tim Wise does a good job educating us:

    He says that that after the election of Barack Obama, pundits (Whites) thought everything was fine when it comes to racism in America and that it is time to move on to other things. Tim Wise says that “in reality the claim that we have gotten past racism and entered a post racial society really is NOTHING NEW.”

    Even in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement when activists were attempting to tear down Jim Crow and gain voting rights, to have Brown v. Board of Education implemented in local schools, etc., many many Whites believed everything was fine and that there was equality and that there were no problems.

    Tim Wise states that “in 1963 when pollsters from Gallup went door to door and asked white Americans if they thought whites and racial minorities were treated equally in matters of housing, education, and employment, 66% of whites said ‘yes.’ Also in a 1962 Gallup Poll, 83% of whites answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘Do you think negro children have as good a chance as white children to get a good education?’ ”

    Tim Wise asserts:

    The fact is that racial inequality still exists and racial bias still affects the way that we view others.

    “Even with a black president…
    the median wealth of white families is 20 times greater than the median wealth of black families and 18 times greater than the wealth of Latino families.”

    “Even with a black president…
    70% of students of color attend schools where the majority of students are black and brown. And these schools are 10 times more likely than majority white schools to have high levels of student poverty.”

    “Even with a black president…
    College-educated African Americans are nearly twice as likely as college-educated whites to be unemployed. College-educated Latinos are 50% more likely than college-educated whites to be unemployed.”

    “And studies have found that white job applicants who claim to have criminal records are more likely to be called back for interviews than black applicants WITHOUT criminal records.”


  11. yahtzeebutterfly

    Excellent video on White Privilege:

    “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”


  12. yahtzeebutterfly

    “What is White Privilege?”


  13. yahtzeebutterfly

    The following is a videotape from the Broadway musical “Memphis” which takes place in 1951.

    The song “Change Don’t Come Easy” is sung by the white mother who is beginning to see the light and recognizes how she was brainwashed to be a racist. She is changing from being a racist and notes that

    I was taught to hate them, was taught to denigrate them,
    I was taught they were lesser in the good Lord’s eyes.
    Can’t drink from the same fountain.
    I’ll scream it from the mountain!
    I’m through with buyin’ their blasphemous lies!

    But change don’t come easy, you better believe me!

    “Change Don’t Come Easy”


    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Her son near the opening of this Broadway musical tells of how he ignored his racist father who tried to teach him to stay away from Blacks in this song:

      MEMPHIS ” The Music of My Soul “


  14. To understand white privilege read the comments from Darrel Wilson’s
    supporters about Michael Brown unproven allegation about
    strong arm robbery involving Switcher sweet cigars and
    Darell Wilson’s mother conviction for stealing thousands of dollars
    from neighbors and friends.

    To Darrel Wilson’s supporters unproven allegation of Michael Brown stealing
    cigars is a bigger crime for stealing thousand of dollars from neighbors and friends!

    Anyone could ask the police chief why stealing cigars is a death sentence
    without due process?

    Anyone should ask the police chief why Darrell Wilson’s mother wasn’t executed
    for stealing thousands of dollars from neighbors and friends!

    Anyone should/must ask the police chief why he disregarded Darell Wilson’s
    mother criminal past!

    After all it was the police chief the one who stated that the robbery and
    Michael Brown execution wasn’t related!


  15. And I add the names of Mark Anthony Barmore and Michael Sago, Jr. Cops not indicted.


  16. yahtzeebutterfly

    The following excerpt is from Michael Skolnik’s article “Unarmed & White: Why I Won’t Get Shot by the Police.”


    However, acknowledging our white privilege is no longer good enough.

    It is simply the first step to realizing that the death of Mike Brown is not an isolated incident, nor are the protests that have ensued since.

    The question we have to answer, as white people, is how much are we going to challenge each other to NO LONGER abuse our privilege? The fact that our lives matter more in this country than those who have a darker skin color is a fact that will hold our progress back, until it is remedied. This must be our fight.

    Not just equality, but equity. Not just fairness, but justice. Not just peace, but safety.

    So, as solutions to the policing problem in this country are offered by members of the Ferguson community and black communities around the country, we must listen. We must listen and do everything we can to spread these ideas to help force a change in policy, and if we are to be true allies, we will follow the lead of those who have suffered these injustice for years and understand what it is like to be Mike Brown.


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